What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is actually a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss if left untreated. Even though elevated eye pressure is one of the main risk factors for glaucoma, up to one-third of men and women diagnosed with glaucoma don’t have a history of high eye pressure. Glaucoma occurs when the eye is vulnerable to nerve damage. Normally, the anterior chamber of the eye is filled with fluid that continually flows in and out through the open angle where the cornea and iris meet. Your eyes typically regulate the amount of pressure inside through this drainage.
Glaucoma often occurs when this pressure is higher than normal, but it can also happen when the eye pressure is considered normal. When glaucoma isn’t diagnosed it can cause serious damage to the optic nerve and result in loss of vision and even blindness.
Types of Glaucoma
Glaucoma typically falls under 2 major categories: open-angle glaucoma (OAG) or narrow-angle glaucoma. Various causes exist and the severity of the 2 different types of glaucoma differ.
Open-angle glaucoma: This is a common type of glaucoma that gradually erodes your peripheral vision without any other symptoms. Permanent damage can occur before it’s diagnosed. That’s why glaucoma is sometimes called the “silent thief of sight.” Open-angle glaucoma involves a gradual increase of eye pressure that develops for years. Undergoing a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every 2 years can help detect many types of glaucoma during its early stages.
Angle-closure glaucoma: A sudden, dramatic increase in eye pressure—often called a glaucoma attack—is a medical emergency that requires immediate care. This occurs when the eye’s drainage system gets completely blocked and can’t remove any fluid from the eye. Besides sudden vision loss, angle-closure glaucoma can cause headaches, glares and halos, red eyes, nausea, and vomiting. The eye can become blind without treatment.
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What Is the Best Treatment for Glaucoma?
- Glaucoma medicine in pill form.
- Laser eye surgery to drain fluid from the eyes. It may be performed in addition to taking glaucoma medicine.
- Conventional eye surgery to create a new channel for fluid to drain from the eye. This option is typically recommended only if patients don’t respond to medication and laser eye surgery.
If you’re noticing a loss of peripheral vision and want to have a comprehensive eye exam to check for glaucoma, use the online form to request an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists at our NYC or Long Island locations. Or call one of our offices directly at (866) 599-8774.
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